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Sunday, 10 November 2013

Reading "The sound and the fury"

the 1st time, yes. 
Like most people I find the 1st section difficult to read, but not incomprehensible. And not unenjoyable.
I think: 
1/ One should read it quickly and in long sittings. Come back to some previous passages if necessary but don't have to dwell on things and shouldn't worry about not getting everything in the 1st reading.
2/ It's not necessary to read the whole plot summary, which I didn't do, but one should know a few details before reading the book or at least while reading the 1st section. For example: the siblings are Quentin, Caddy (Candace), Jason and Benjy (Benjamin); there are 2 Quentins, the 1st one is Benjy's brother, the 2nd one is Caddy's daughter; Benjy the mentally handicapped son has 3 caretakers- Versh in Benjy's infancy and childhood, T.P in his teenage years and Luster in the present, when Benjy's 33 years old. The last bit is especially important because even though there are lots of scenes where 2 or 3 of them appear together, finding who the caretaker is helps denote the time something takes place, otherwise the 1st section is messy and chaotic and utterly confusing.
3/ I find it a better idea to read "The sound and the fury" after reading something else by Faulkner. In my case, "As I lay dying". For some people, once they have a bad experience with "The sound and the fury", the most well-known but arguably the most difficult, I'm afraid they'll be scarred for life. Which is rather sad.
Those are the tips. 
But then I don't know. Whether you read it, and finish it, is up to you. If he somehow speaks to you amidst all that chaos, if he touches something in you or at least draws you in with his voice, his cadence, his flow, his rhythm, then you don't need anything, don't have to force yourself. You just have to try a bit, because few writers write as Faulkner does, but that's all. There's no more I have to say.
For the time being, while reading the 2nd section (from Quentin's point of view) I do not wish to make further comments on "The sound and the fury". Will do, later.

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